You might be going on summer vacation this year, but your finances can’t take a break. These financial literacy tips will help set you up to step away from your finances for a relaxing break, knowing that your accounts are in order. After all, who wants to come back to a pile of bills, reminders about overdue payments, and a slim savings account?
You want to be prepared for the best of times and the times when life takes a downturn. Here are four ways to better prepare your finances for the future.
- Assess your situation. Comb through your bank statements, retirement statements, and other documents to get a clear view of your current financial situation. How much money are you spending? How much income do you have coming in? How much money are you saving?
- Set up a budget. If you don’t already have a household budget, it’s time to create one. You can do this with a spreadsheet or with one of several budget apps. A budget can help you monitor your income and stay on top of your expenses.
- Start an emergency fund. Already have an emergency fund? Great! If you don’t have one, begin setting aside money earmarked solely for emergency expenses, like car repairs or unexpected medical bills. Experts suggest stashing enough money in an emergency fund to cover at least three to six months’ worth of household expenses.
- Review your insurance. Insurance can help ensure that your financial standing remains strong. Look at your health, life, and homeowners insurance policies. Is the coverage adequate? Are you missing a critical component, such as life insurance?
Planning comes in tandem with preparation. Key elements of financial planning include:
- Writing a will. A will tells your loved ones what you want to happen to your assets after you’re gone. This document can give you peace of mind by making your wishes clear regarding who will inherit your estate.
- Planning your retirement. Your targeted retirement age may be a few years or a few decades away. Either way, you should have a retirement plan in place. Based on your income and your retirement goals, the plan should consider how you intend to grow your portfolio. Do you have a retirement option at work, such as a 401(k)? Are you taking advantage of an IRA? Even if you don’t have an employer-sponsored retirement account, you still have options for retirement savings in a traditional IRA, Roth IRA, precious metals IRA, or brokerage account.
- Considering diversification. You’ve heard the old saying about not putting all your eggs in one basket. The basket analogy applies to your retirement portfolio, too. You should consider diversifying your portfolio with various assets, such as stocks, bonds, real estate, and gold or other precious metals. Diversification with assets like precious metals can help shield your portfolio from market volatility.
Once you’ve got all of the pieces in place, such as a budget, emergency fund, and retirement plan, now what? Time to track what’s happening with your finances. In other words, you can’t just set it and forget it. For instance, you may need to adjust your portfolio from time to time by shifting asset allocation. In that scenario, maybe you’d need to bulk up your precious metals holdings based on the amount of stock holdings you have.
The bottom line is that while you may take a vacation, your finances never do.
“Better financial understanding can be achieved when measurable financial goals are set, the effects of decisions understood, and results reviewed—giving you a whole new approach to your budget and improving control over your financial lifestyle,” notes BlueShore Financial.
Healthy money habits can last long after summer ends. Make sure you do everything you can to prepare for long-term fun in the sun. A quick one-on-one consultation with a U.S. Money Reserve Account Executive can help you determine the right mix of precious metals for your portfolio needs.